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Thread: Mattel no longer owns the rights to MOTU?

  1. #26
    Heroic Warrior Stygian360's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blackiecats View Post
    I think ThunderCats had a similar deal where Telepictures owned the entertainment side of things, while Leisure Concepts Inc owned the merchandise rights. Luckily though for ThunderCats, it's now all under the ownership of a single company.
    Too bad that company isn't Universal... cuz I needs me some more Thundercats figures sculpted by the Horsemen!
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  2. #27
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    I'm absolutely confused

    Is that real?

  3. #28
    In Stereo Where Available Dynamo of Eternia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru View Post
    Last thing I want to do is add any confusion! Especially for a brand I don't work on.

    From the best of my knowledge (which is limited
    And I do NOT speak for Mattel) Mattel has first pass/option at toy rights (through 2023). That is why they can do anyone made as a toy in vintage era until 2023. But toy rights still required paying a royalty to the entertainment rights holder.

    To do toys based on any entertainment (i.e. Filmation) required a deal with the owner of the entertainment rights which is currently Universal.

    Does that help?
    That actually does kind of make a bit more sense.

    If I'm understanding you correctly (and let me know if I'm wrong), basically Mattel could make any of the original toy characters as a new figure without necessarily needing specific permission from the owner of the entertainment rights, but still had to pay a royalty to them. But for characters that originated in the cartoons and such and never had a figure in past lines, Mattel had to basically get a separate license from the same holder of the entertainment rights for that specifically, with the royalties for the vintage toy characters and the license for the cartoon characters being two separate legal arrangements/agreements.

    At least that's how I'm interpreting this.
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  4. #29
    Heroic Warrior wayne-klops's Avatar
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    I can understand Mattel selling the rights to the property back in the 90s....I imagine after the New Adventures line, they thought they were done with it. But, I'm surprised with the 200x relaunch that they didn't try to buy it back outright. It certainly tells me that despite them putting some efforts towards the Classics line, they really don't have a lot of faith or desire for the brand.
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  5. #30
    Ravage ThunderCat blackiecats's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wayne-klops View Post
    I can understand Mattel selling the rights to the property back in the 90s....I imagine after the New Adventures line, they thought they were done with it. But, I'm surprised with the 200x relaunch that they didn't try to buy it back outright. It certainly tells me that despite them putting some efforts towards the Classics line, they really don't have a lot of faith or desire for the brand.
    To be honest I think Entertainment Rights way overpaid Hallmark for the Filmation Library, which contained a lot of outdated shows that hadn't been seen in a very long time. Mattel likely weren't going to try to outbid them given the fact the bid was so high when they would only be interested in the He-Man and She-Ra cartoons. I think the downfall of Entertainment Rights stemmed from over paying on properties they acquired.
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  6. #31
    Heroic Warrior Toyguru's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dynamo of Eternia View Post
    That actually does kind of make a bit more sense.

    If I'm understanding you correctly (and let me know if I'm wrong), basically Mattel could make any of the original toy characters as a new figure without necessarily needing specific permission from the owner of the entertainment rights, but still had to pay a royalty to them. But for characters that originated in the cartoons and such and never had a figure in past lines, Mattel had to basically get a separate license from the same holder of the entertainment rights for that specifically, with the royalties for the vintage toy characters and the license for the cartoon characters being two separate legal arrangements/agreements.

    At least that's how I'm interpreting this.
    More or less that is it (that I know of, again I do not work for mattel now and things may be different and I am not speaking for Mattel here). Much like a Facebook relationship status, it's complicated.

    Mattel had/has first rights to make or pass on toys. If they choose to pass (as they did in 2017 on 6" figures)then the rights are up for grabs. But Mattel (I think) still has rights to the vintage "making of" stuff.

    If you think this is confusing, POP is an entirely different animal considered (legally) a 100% different IP. Sometimes best not to think about it. Like time travel it makes your head hurt. I learned to just shut up and enjoy the toys at the moment. :-)

  7. #32
    The First Avenger Megalodon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru View Post
    More or less that is it (that I know of, again I do not work for mattel now and things may be different and I am not speaking for Mattel here). Much like a Facebook relationship status, it's complicated.

    Mattel had/has first rights to make or pass on toys. If they choose to pass (as they did in 2017 on 6" figures)then the rights are up for grabs. But Mattel (I think) still has rights to the vintage "making of" stuff.

    If you think this is confusing, POP is an entirely different animal considered (legally) a 100% different IP. Sometimes best not to think about it. Like time travel it makes your head hurt. I learned to just shut up and enjoy the toys at the moment. :-)
    Here's the question no one seems to be asking....Why did they sell the rights originally??? And why would they Mattel created He-Man...

    They should have done what Hasbro did when they bought back the cartoon rights for G.I. Joe,Transformers etc. they own EVERYTHING that covers that property...Mattel should have acquired all of the He-Man and She-Ra cartoons years ago...doesn't make sense

  8. #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Megalodon View Post
    Here's the question no one seems to be asking....Why did they sell the rights originally??? And why would they Mattel created He-Man...

    They should have done what Hasbro did when they bought back the cartoon rights for G.I. Joe,Transformers etc. they own EVERYTHING that covers that property...Mattel should have acquired all of the He-Man and She-Ra cartoons years ago...doesn't make sense
    I find it facepalm-worthy, if I'm understanding all this correctly, seeing as when they went forward with creating a new line in the late '70s/early '80s, they wanted an IP they owned, as opposed to having to shell out royalties for a license.
    "Whoever says money is evil...doesn't have it"- Boiler Room

  9. #34
    In Stereo Where Available Dynamo of Eternia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru View Post
    Mattel had/has first rights to make or pass on toys. If they choose to pass (as they did in 2017 on 6" figures)then the rights are up for grabs. But Mattel (I think) still has rights to the vintage "making of" stuff.

    If you think this is confusing, POP is an entirely different animal considered (legally) a 100% different IP. Sometimes best not to think about it. Like time travel it makes your head hurt. I learned to just shut up and enjoy the toys at the moment. :-)
    It just seems odd that NECA couldn't make fully articulated figures back when the 200X figure line ended (with Mattel therefore passing on making any further figures) and the stations started up, but this time around Super7 is able to make fully articulated figures and continue the line outright. Not that I'm complaining about Classics continuing with Super7 as I'm glad that we will get more figures, but I'm just a bit confused on what the difference is between once scenario and the other.
    Last edited by Dynamo of Eternia; January 4, 2017 at 08:15pm.
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  10. #35
    Heroic Warrior Toyguru's Avatar
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    I think NECA made stactions over figures due to the cost. But i have zero knowledge as i was not at Mattel at the time. As to why the rights were sold, that is a story for another time...
    Last edited by Toyguru; January 4, 2017 at 08:23pm.

  11. #36
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    All very odd. So, Universal owns the MOTU intellectual property, with the exception of Mattel's "development" material. And Universal granted Mattel an exclusive licence to manufacture action figures using the MOTU IP (or possibly just a "first option" or "right of first refusal" licence) until 2023.

    So, Mattel may be sub-licensing the MOTU IP to Super 7 or if Mattel isn't exercising its licence option, then Super 7 may be licensing the MOTU IP directly from Universal.

  12. #37
    The First Avenger Megalodon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru View Post
    I think NECA made stactions over figures due to the cost. But i have zero knowledge as i was not at Mattel at the time. As to why the rights were sold, that is a story for another time...
    Now is the time...It would be a fun story to tell I know If I created something that could and did make money I wouldn't sell but they must have gotten a sweet deal but lost down the road it seems...
    Last edited by Megalodon; January 4, 2017 at 08:37pm.

  13. #38
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    So how does this work with the DC He-Man comics then? Mattel Playground Productions with Rob David and Lloyd Goldfine creating MOTU original story content (non-figure)?? Why is Mattel involved with the recent Sony movie production?
    I see in the recent comics copyright "Under license to DreamWorks Animation Publishing" after the Mattel copyright.
    Last edited by Kesmai; January 4, 2017 at 09:52pm.

  14. #39
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    So in 2024 when MOTU 5: Disco Skeletor's Revenge comes out in theaters, Hasbro could have the rights and flood the market with those little 2.5 inch figures they like to do for all the Marvel movies? The horror, the horror...

  15. #40
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    Somehow I could see the rights eventually winding up in public domain.
    "Whoever says money is evil...doesn't have it"- Boiler Room

  16. #41
    Trollan Swordsmith Yogopop's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toyguru View Post
    If you think this is confusing, POP is an entirely different animal considered (legally) a 100% different IP.
    This is all very interesting.

    What does POP actually encompass from an IP consideration?

    I have been trying to make sense of it, Toyguru can you clarify which of the below scenarios are POP IP:

    A - Any character from the 'Vintage POP' toy-line only. (e.g. Shadow Weaver or Hunga the Harpy is not included)
    B - Any character from the 'She-ra Filmation' cartoon only. (e.g. Vintage Toy She-ra is not included)
    C - Any character from the 'Vintage POP' toy-line or 'She-ra Filmation' cartoon. (e.g. This makes Hordak POP)
    D - Any character from the 'Vintage POP' toy-line or 'She-ra Filmation' cartoon, excluding characters who had a 'Vintage MOTU toy'. (e.g. Hordak is not included).

    Clarification would assist in knowing what figures we are likely to see from Super7 if they don't currently have POP rights.
    Last edited by Yogopop; January 4, 2017 at 09:23pm.
    TOP 5 MOTUC MUST HAVES:
    1. Starburst She-ra (vintage toy variant)
    2. Hunga the Harpy
    3. Gold God Skeletor (movie skeletor)
    4. 200X Evil-Lyn
    5. Lady Slither

  17. #42
    Heroic Warrior Toyguru's Avatar
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    At this point I'd direct your questions to Mattel or Super 7. I'm out of the game too long! :-)

  18. #43
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    Okay...

    I don't want to be argumentative and I have little to no knowledge of Mattel's inner workings, but this still makes very little sense to me.

    The question remains as to why Mattel would be involved at all with anything but making action figures if they did sell He-Man and retained only the rights to make the action figure toys. Why are they involved with DC Comics? Why isn't DC going straight to Dreamworks/Universal?

    Why are we just hearing about this now?
    Why can He-Man be on the corporate logo as the only non-Mattel owned brand? (2010 annual report)
    Why is Mattel involved at all with the movie?
    Why is the Mattel logo on any of the Dark Horse products?

    If this is right, then it's as if Hasbro sold Transformers to another company, retaining only the right to make toys, and included in the agreement the right to have a final say so on all licensing and media properties. Huh?

    The latest Dark Horse animated collection says HMMOTU and trademarks is owned by and used under license by Mattel and under license by Classic Media. Note it doesn't say owned by Classic Media.

    So Classic Media owns He-Man outright but has said, "Fine, we'll just not tell anyone but let Mattel claim ownership, no biggie."

    I admit I'm a novice on some of these legal matters, but something isn't clear here. Either that, or Mattel made a very dumb move in the 1990s and convinced all succeeding owners to give them ownership in name. Huh?
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  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skystalker View Post
    Okay...

    I don't want to be argumentative and I have little to no knowledge of Mattel's inner workings, but this still makes very little sense to me.

    The question remains as to why Mattel would be involved at all with anything but making action figures if they did sell He-Man and retained only the rights to make the action figure toys. Why are they involved with DC Comics? Why isn't DC going straight to Dreamworks/Universal?

    Why are we just hearing about this now?
    Why can He-Man be on the corporate logo as the only non-Mattel owned brand? (2010 annual report)
    Why is Mattel involved at all with the movie?
    Why is the Mattel logo on any of the Dark Horse products?

    If this is right, then it's as if Hasbro sold Transformers to another company, retaining only the right to make toys, and included in the agreement the right to have a final say so on all licensing and media properties. Huh?

    The latest Dark Horse animated collection says HMMOTU and trademarks is owned by and used under license by Mattel and under license by Classic Media. Note it doesn't say owned by Classic Media.

    So Classic Media owns He-Man outright but has said, "Fine, we'll just not tell anyone but let Mattel claim ownership, no biggie."

    I admit I'm a novice on some of these legal matters, but something isn't clear here. Either that, or Mattel made a very dumb move in the 1990s and convinced all succeeding owners to give them ownership in name. Huh?
    Based on the sound of things, they were making several dumb moves with their then-hottest Boys brand long before the '90s, and gave up on it by the early '90s when they proved how symbolic their ownership of Barbie really is.
    "Whoever says money is evil...doesn't have it"- Boiler Room

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    Someone can respond to me: If Dylamug and coronel.Blast appear in dc comics super 7 can do.it?
    And Scott, in your plans are made Dylamug, whrn.you worl in Mattel

  21. #46
    Heroic Warrior Amentep's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KingRandor82 View Post
    Based on the sound of things, they were making several dumb moves with their then-hottest Boys brand long before the '90s, and gave up on it by the early '90s when they proved how symbolic their ownership of Barbie really is.
    Hallmark didn't get the Filmation Library until 1995 and Filmation wasn't in a position to buy the rights. Entertainment Rights LLC didn't buy the rights from Hallmark until 2004.

    Makes me think the sale could have been tied to the debacle in 1999 or so where Mattel bought the Learning Corporation and tanked Mattel stock. Such a cash poor time may have led to a deal with Hallmark to deal with the fallout there.

  22. #47
    Heroic Warrior Stratos*Major's Avatar
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    Buuuuuut...didn't Mattel just set out to make toys?
    Is it that strange before we had all the technology we have now that they had little to no interest beyond making the toys, or what would help them sell the toys. In other words, there was no internet or collector forums for MOTU/POP.
    This is Mattel we are talking about here.
    They made the cash with the toys. It died, they sold the rights after NA flopped, but maintained part ownership, in and of the vintage toys, and just cashed out everything else...

  23. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amentep View Post
    Hallmark didn't get the Filmation Library until 1995 and Filmation wasn't in a position to buy the rights. Entertainment Rights LLC didn't buy the rights from Hallmark until 2004.

    Makes me think the sale could have been tied to the debacle in 1999 or so where Mattel bought the Learning Corporation and tanked Mattel stock. Such a cash poor time may have led to a deal with Hallmark to deal with the fallout there.
    Well, by Mattel having exclusive dibs to the license until 2023, I was under the impression that it was probably a 30-year deal or something.

    And when I say dumb moves in the '80s:

    Teaming with Cannon Films to make the MOTU movie, and getting stiffed on the deal, when Cannon broke the agreement when every person on the planet knew they were going broke and couldn't afford to pony it up.

    Roger Sweet sees the New Adventures He-Man, and essentially tells them it's gonna bomb. But...why listen to him, right?

    Today, the movie deal is now tied to Sony...ya know, the same studio that's having enough financial problems to cancel a prospective Popeye movie to go ahead with an "Emoji" movie. Think about it.
    "Whoever says money is evil...doesn't have it"- Boiler Room

  24. #49
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    Quote Originally Posted by Karatzis View Post
    Someone can respond to me: If Dylamug and coronel.Blast appear in dc comics super 7 can do.it?
    And Scott, in your plans are made Dylamug, whrn.you worl in Mattel
    Rob David says on RGD 138 that it wasn't difficult using She-Ra and other characters in the comic because they have a good working relationship with DreamWorks and everybody is excited to use as many characters as possible (can't get into contract specifics).

    Super 7 is continuing the Filmation figure line, right? Shouldn't be a problem to see those characters then. Whether they deal with DreamWorks directly or routed thru Mattel is another question.

    - - - Updated - - -

    I'll be interested to hear Val's insight on this thread's info...
    Last edited by Kesmai; January 4, 2017 at 11:51pm.

  25. #50
    Heroic Warrior Tmelton78's Avatar
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    I read through mostly...most of the thread and I think one tid bit of information is missing that might shed light at least on the entertainment rights side. We're testing my memory of something I read way back in 1996 though...

    There was a ruling (in the 60s I believe due to litigation between Tonka and Hot Wheels) that prevented children's programming based on toy lines. That ruling was lifted in 1982 and Mattel was the first to attempt to test the waters but was struggling to find someone willing to take on the gamble. Enter Filmation where the deal was Filmation could keep the commerical revenue on top of having the entertainment rights in the partnership. Mattel was looking at it from the standpoint of a 30min commercial that would drive toy sales and leave the commercial revenue lost looking like chump change.

    ...or I'm completely left field spewing common information and lost sight of what were talking about. Did I mention I'm old.

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